Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Rock 'n' Roll Omelets

By David Jacobs

FEBRUARY 7, 2000:  Whether you've got the whole family or just one special someone to impress Sunday morning, omelets are the way to go. Omelet making is easily perfected with some basic technique and a nominal amount of practice. With the simplest of ingredients you can prepare a delightful meal appropriate for brunch or any time of day.


The Eggs

Three-egg omelets are the norm, but two will do. Any more than three eggs make omelet preparation unmanageable. Some omelet recipes call for one teaspoon of liquid for each egg in the omelet. I don't find this necessary, but if you'd prefer it, I recommend a nice white wine instead of water or milk. You may also find recipes that call for eggs to be close to room temperature so they fluff up nicely, but I have just one word of caution: salmonella. The difference in volume is probably not worth the risk of disease, so crack your eggs into a large bowl while they're still cold and whip them with a whisk or fork until the whites and yolks are combined. I find that if you add salt directly to the egg mixture it tends to toughen the eggs, so wait and season with salt and pepper when you add the fillings.


The Filling

The filling should be prepared before you start cooking the omelet. Chop a variety of ingredients like vegetables, herbs, meat, poultry, seafood and cheeses and combine them to make your filling. Whatever you put in your omelet should be warm when you add it, so combine everything except the cheese and keep it warm on the stove or in the oven. Just keep in mind that you only want enough filling to add flavor to your omelet, not to overwhelm it. You can always garnish with additional filling. My favorite filling for an omelet is whatever I have leftover from last night. Just make sure you warm it up first!

These are some of my other favorite filling combinations:

  • Steamed spinach and goat cheese
  • Sautéed asparagus and fontina cheese
  • Sautéed red bell pepper, onions, sharp cheddar and smoked ham
  • Sliced mushrooms sautéed in butter with fresh thyme
  • Smoked salmon with Gruyere cheese


The Pan

You will need a proper pan in which to cook the omelet. My omelet pan is a small but heavy pan with a five-inch base and sides that slope up to a seven-inch opening. Any heavy gauge non-stick or anodized aluminum pan of approximately this size will serve your purpose.


Cook!

The eggs and filling are ready; the pan is on a burner set to medium-high heat. Wait until the pan is thoroughly heated before adding the fat. I recommend butter or a combination of vegetable oil and butter. If you choose the latter make sure the oil is heated first, then add the butter and allow it melt and stop bubbling. Test the pan and fat for proper omelet cooking temperature by adding a drop of egg. It should sizzle immediately.

Once the butter or oil is heated, introduce the eggs all at once. With great vigor and gusto shake the pan and stir the eggs with a fork. This ensures an evenly cooked omelet. If you are using a non-stick pan hold your fork flat to keep it from scratching the surface of the pan. Continue the stirring and shaking until the omelet begins to set, about 30 seconds.

Stop stirring the eggs while the center is still moist. Use your fork to loosen the edge of your omelet from the pan if it sticks a bit. A properly shaken and stirred omelet will slide freely in your pan. Now add your warm, dry filling, in a stripe down the middle.

Now that you have "rocked" your omelet it's time to "roll" it! With the aid of your fork, or a spatula, fold the side nearest you toward the middle. Then tilt the pan away from you and bang on the handle to ease the far edge of the omelet up and over onto itself. If you don't want to be that fancy, just grab your fork and fold the far edge over to the center of the almost complete masterpiece. You can adjust actual cooking time to allow for a more firm or loose omelet, as your taste requires.

Now place the omelet on a plate, folded side down. Tidy it up a bit and brush it with some melted butter to give it a nice sheen. Garnish with chopped parsley, some more filling or extra cheese.

If you're having a number of guests over for omelets, it's fun to prepare an array of fillings and let each guest select his own combination then watch as you prepare and present a piece of edible art. The possibilities are endless. Bon Appetit!


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